Student Champions: Connecting Dementia Patients & Caregivers to Community Resources

Training the student health workforce to support dementia patients and families in Wisconsin

Full Project Name:Student Champions: Connecting dementia patients/caregivers to essential community resourcesPrimary Community Organization:Marquette UniversityPrimary Academic Partner:Kathryn Denson, MD, MedicineAward Amount:$503,459
Award Date
July2021
Project Duration:36 months

Project Description Narrative:


Dementia is a neurocognitive disorder that leads to loss of independence, diminished quality of life, premature death, and caregiver burden. In Wisconsin, more than 120,000 residents were afflicted with dementia in 2020, and this number is expected to increase another 8.3% by 2025.

Approximately 83% of all care provided to older adults is provided by unlicensed, lay caregivers. In Wisconsin, 196,000 caregivers provided more than 204,000 hours of care to persons with dementia in 2020. Studies show that dementia caregivers are more likely to experience substantial emotional, financial, and health complications than non-caregivers due to ongoing demands of care.

Through this award, project partners aim to establish a workforce solution to support dementia patients and caregivers, quickly connecting them to vital resources and support services.

Community partners:
Advocate Aurora Health, Wisconsin Alzheimer's Association

Academic partners:
MCW School of Pharmacy

Project Updates:


  • Developed a new educational module about the Alzheimer's Association Direct Connect referral program focused on caregiver burden, dementia detection, referrals to dementia diagnostic clinics, and referrals to the Alzheimer's Association via its Direct Connect program
  • Developed three new Geriatric Fast Facts which were peer reviewed and subsequently published online
  • Piloted curriculum with learners in medicine, nursing, and pharmacy and preliminary results show that the program has been positively received and feedback will be used to make enhancements to the curriculum
  • Collecting metrics, personal testimonials, and other materials to emphasize the power of the Direct Connect referral program

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